Monday, May 13, 2013

Gameday Preview: Stars at Oklahoma City Barons, Game 3

Texas Stars
43-22-5-6, 97 pts
#1 Western Conference
atOklahoma City Barons
40-25-2-9, 91 pts
#5 Western Conference
Series tied 1-1

May 13th at 7:00 PM
Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK

It's not ideal to split at home, but Texas know that the situation could have been far worse. In what was supposed to be a more wide-open series, the Barons came to play Texas Stars hockey and have seen both games end with 2-1 score lines.

Shot totals and score lines like we've seen in the first two games put a huge premium on goaltending. Cristopher Nilstorp is currently the top goalie in the AHL playoffs. He has a 1.13 GAA and .957 SV%. Only three other tenders have more minutes played than he does in the playoffs and all of those saw their first round series go to five games. Texas took care of business in four.

One of those goaltenders is the opposing netminder in this series, Yann Danis. After allowing just three goals across just over 120 minutes of work in games 1 and 2, it's no doubt that his first series was something of an aberration. OKC coach Todd Nelson had the Barons hunker down for this series and they are playing a very tight game.

That being said, the risk still exists that this club could go on a tear. The best power play in the league is not going to come up empty too many more times before scoring. The Stars have to limit their penalties. They got lucky to clear the 5-on-3 late in the first off the board. They got lucky again in the second when Scott Glennie's boarding call (marginal though it was) was counterbalanced by Josh Green's unsportsmanlike conduct minor. That could have put the Stars on another 5-on-3. This is not a PP you want to load up.

As a side note, Texas coach Willie Desjardins acknowledges that the power play is not working the way he would like it to. Top ranked during the year, the man advantage has been a tough spot for the Stars. They are scoring at times, as they did last night, but Desjardins feels more can be done to make the power play a difference maker in the series.

Texas can lean a bit on the fact that they had the league's best road record this season. It would be perhaps a bit too optimistic to think that the Stars take all three in OKC. However, I think they have a good chance to take two and then come back to the CPC on May 20 with a chance to close out the series. Though all that is quite a ways off still.

Stars injury/call up report:
Nemeth (injury)

Website: okcbarons.com
Blog (unofficial): NewsOK's Barons Hockey
Twitter: @OKCBaronsHockey

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